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Bruce King: From the Ranch to the Roundhouse

Inspired by a visit from Gov. Clyde Tingley to his 7th-grade classroom, Bruce King decided then and there that he wanted to become governor of New Mexico. The third child of homesteaders in the Estancia Valley east of Albuquerque, King grew up helping his father on the family ranch. He attended the University of New Mexico, where he played football. After serving in the field artillery and military police during World War II, he returned home and shortly thereafter met Alice Martin at church. They were married in 1947, embarking on a life-long partnership that would reach to all corners of the state.

When he was 29, King's political career began; he won his first election, earning a seat on the Santa Fe County Commission. Five years later, in 1959, he was elected to the New Mexico House of Representatives, where he served five consecutive terms--three in the top position of Speaker. King served as the State Democratic Chairman from 1968-1969, and as president of the State Constitutional Convention that was held in 1969. By 1970, he was ready to pursue the goal he had set many years earlier: he ran for governor and won. When he cleaned out his desk for the final time in 1994, he held the distinction of being the first person to serve the state as governor for three four-year terms.

King also left behind a legacy that will be hard to match. Using a congenial problem-solving style during his 40-year political career, he helped make New Mexico what it is today--a dynamic and thriving state.

For more biographical information please see the Archives online index.